By Blessings Mashaya
UNISON – a United Kingdom labour union — has tasked its government to urge Zimbabwean authorities to respect workers’ rights.
This comes after several trade union activists, including Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president Peter Mutasa and secretary-general Japhet Moyo were arrested for attempting to demonstrate against the two percent transactional tax introduced by government last week.
In a letter to UK’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Jeremy Hunt, Unison secretary-general Dave Prentis said the Zimbabwe government must launch an inquiry on last week’s violence.
“We request that you urge the government of Zimbabwe to: Comply with the ILO conventions and other human rights laws, to which they are a signatory.
“Launch an inquiry into the arrest, detention and beatings of trade union members.
“On October 9, the Zimbabwe Republic Police banned the demonstration on the grounds that the government is still containing a cholera outbreak in Harare.
“ZCTU are challenging the ban as Zanu PF gatherings, sports events, church services and other public events have been permitted without any restrictions.”
Unison added that the Zimbabwean government breached international laws by beating up protesters.
“The arrest, detention and beating of trade unionists for attempting to protest on a matter of significant concern to workers is a clear breach of international law,including the International Labour Organisation’s core conventions 87 on the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise, and 98 on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining.”
The Zimbabwe workers are demanding the government to reverse the two percent tax.
The tax that was gazetted last week comes at a time the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe reintroduced foreign currency accounts, throwing the bond note into turmoil, resulting in sky-rocketing rates as fears of 2008 — when hyperinflation reached 500 billion percent — grip the public.
Some retailers have started limiting goods in a bid to avoid hoarding, as people have been buying items in large quantities for speculative purposes.
Products like sugar, rice and cooking oil are being limited to two items per customer. Daily News.